I don't like leading this story with the same team two days in a row, but you have to go where the news is. And again concerning injuries, it's with the Mets. Wednesday was nearly a title-ending disaster for the defending NL champions. Both Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes, the team's best pitcher and hitter, respectively, left that night's game vs. the Royals with injury concerns. It appears neither is serious, however. Syndergaard had some right elbow issues, and that's always scary -- especially as this became the second time this season the Mets looked at that elbow. An MRI found no damage on Wednesday. "Thor" should avoid the DL but might miss a start. Cespedes, meanwhile, injured his wrist in the game, but it has been diagnosed as only a mild sprain so he should avoid the DL. Cespedes is likely to miss a few games.
Rays at Orioles (-127, 9)
Baltimore will get back third baseman Manny Machado, a top AL MVP candidate, from his four-game suspension for this one. He was suspended for his role in that brawl with the Royals a few weeks ago. Machado had the longest consecutive games streak in MLB before sitting. So his return likely isn't pleasant news for Rays lefty starter Matt Moore (3-4, 4.90). He has been very good his past two starts in allowing two combined runs and eight hits over 13 innings with 15 strikeouts. In May, Moore had an ugly 7.36 ERA in five starts. Moore lost to Baltimore at Tropicana Field on April 27, allowing three runs over seven innings. Machado is 3-for-19 career off him with two extra-base hits. Adam Jones hits .407 off Jones with two homers and seven RBIs in 27 at-bats. The O's go with Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 6.26). He returned from nearly two months on the DL on Saturday vs. Toronto and allowed two runs in five innings while walking four. The Rays' Logan Morrison is 1-for-19 career off him. Corey Dickerson is 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Key trends: The Rays are 0-5 in Moore's past five on the road. The Orioles are 2-5 in their past seven against a lefty. The "over/under" is 6-2-1 in Moore's past nine. Tampa is 0-4 in Moore's past four vs. Baltimore.
Early lean: Rays and over.
Indians at Tigers (-105, 8)
Good pitching matchup here in the series opener -- the Tigers are 0-6 vs. Cleveland this year. The Tribe go with Danny Salazar (8-3, 2.23). He beat the White Sox last time out, allowing two runs and five hits in 6.2 innings. It was Salazar's fourth straight win, and he hasn't allowed more than two earned or six hits in any of them. If the guy didn't walk so many (second in AL with 38), he might lead the league in WHIP. Last year, Salazar was 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA in five starts against the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera is 9-for-26 off him with two homers and 10 strikeouts. Victor Martinez hits .280 with a homer off him in 25 at-bats. The Tigers counter with Jordan Zimmermann (9-3, 3.24). He took a no-decision last time out, allowing one run and four hits in Kansas City. Zimmermann doesn't have much history with the Indians. Jason Kipnis is 2-for-2 against him. Carlos Santana is 1-for-3 with a homer.
Key trends: The Indians are 11-1 in Salazar's past 12 on Friday. The Tigers are 5-2 in Zimmermann's past seven at home. The under is 8-1-2 in Salazar's past 11 on the road.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Dodgers at Pirates (-116, 8.5)
Game will have live betting at sportsbooks with it televised by the MLB Network. I could absolutely see these teams square off in the NL wild-card game, although the Pirates don't look like a playoff team at the moment. The Dodgers are likely to go with Japanese rookie Kenta Maeda (6-4, 2.64). He beat the Brewers on Sunday, allowing one run and six hits over 6.1 innings with eight strikeouts. Maeda has now held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in five straight starts. This will be his first look at Pittsburgh. It's possible the Dodgers use a spot starter here in place of Mike Bolsinger, who was sent down earlier this week. The team could decide to give Maeda an extra day of rest. The Bucs counter with their top pitching prospect, Jameson Taillon (1-1, 3.50). He had quality starts in his first two outings but not Sunday at the Cubs, allowing four runs and eight hits (three homers) over four innings. This will be his first look at the Dodgers.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 6-13 in their past 19 series openers. The under is 6-1 in their past seven in Game 1 of a series. The Dodgers are 0-5 in their past five in Pittsburgh.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Red Sox at Rangers (+153, 9)
I could absolutely see these teams square off in the ALDS or ALCS. Texas is running away with the AL West, while the Red Sox are battling the Orioles for the AL East lead. The Sox go with lefty ace David Price (8-4, 4.24). He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight straight outings. Price beat the Mariners on Sunday in allowing one run in eight innings with seven strikeouts. Adrian Beltre has faced him more than any Ranger, going 10-for-33 with two homers and six RBIs. Prince Fielder probably gets the night off as he's only 2-for-12 vs. Price and doesn't hit lefties well. Texas is expected to start Nick Martinez (1-1, 5.14). He has made three appearances total this season and one start. That was Saturday in St. Louis and he allowed three runs in 4.1 innings. Boston's Mookie Betts is 2-for-4 with an RBI career against him. Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-4. Hanley Ramirez is 2-for-3 with a homer.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 5-2 in Price's past seven on four days of rest. The Rangers are 2-10 in Martinez's past 12 home starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-0 in Price's past five.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Astros at Royals (+106, 8.5)
The last time Houston visited Kansas City, Johnny Cueto dominated the Astros in the clinching Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS -- the Astros should have ended the series in Game 4 at home, blowing a four-run eighth-inning lead. Lefty and reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel (3-9, 5.32) goes in the opener for Houston. He hasn't won since May 28 but does come off a quality start vs. Cincinnati, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings. Keuchel beat the Royals in Game 3 of the ALDS with a very good start, but he allowed three runs in one inning of relief in Game 5 to blow it open. Lorenzo Cain is 5-for-12 career off him in the regular season with a homer. Kansas City throws Edinson Volquez (7-6, 4.12). He allowed five runs and eight hits over 6.1 innings Saturday vs. Detroit but got the win. Volquez lost to Houston in Game 3 of the ALDS. Carlos Gomez is 9-for-31 career off him with three solo homers.
Key trends: The Astros are 2-6 in Keuchel's past eight on the road. The Royals are 4-1 in Volquez's past five during Game 1 of a series. The under is 4-1 in Keuchel's past five. The under is 9-3-1 in Volquez's past 13 at home.
Early lean: Royals and under.
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